Being typically British my blog would not be complete without a good old discussion about the weather. It feels like a lot of the winter has been mild but windy and wet, however I did buy an exquisite umbrella, that almost, and I stress almost made me look forward to a wet day. It is by Lulu Guinness and has a birdcage design on it.
One morning this week as I stepped out early to walk to the station, my breath visible in the air, morning was starting to light the street, which makes a pleasant change from going to work and coming home in the dark. The fingers of Jack Frost had lightly caressed everything, from the early daffodils to the wine bottles left out for recycling. That time of the morning is incredibly peaceful with just the sweet melodious chorus of the birds and the milkman going about his round. The winter sun eventually breaks through and burns away the frost after bathing everything in a beautiful golden glow when the frost twinkles like diamonds.
So February has brought winter with it which pleases me immensely as I can wear the rather expensive pompom hat, which I purchased from a stall in London’s Hayes Galleria the last time it got a bit cold; only for it to warm up again a few days later!
Pompoms have been big this season, with a real peak at Christmas, although the trend has continued into 2016. Many fashion writers have said they represent the ‘fun’ element that has been missing from fashion. There are some lovely pompom shoes available, especially this pair by Aquazzura which are sadly way beyond my budget.
I couldn’t resist the hat as well as getting a bag charm. Fendi was the first to showcase the pompom bag charm with its ‘bag bug’ which was a pompom with eyes; and other designers and retailers have been quick to follow suit. A pompom bag charm can instantly update any bag for the season, which saves our pockets when we are still paying for the expenses of Christmas.
This pompom I bought from Asos is designed to look like a rabbit rather than being made of rabbit fur as some pompoms and other clothes are.
Fashion and Fur has had a long and turbulent history. Back in the Stone Age furs were worn for warmth. In the middle ages, fur was generally used to line garments but the Victorians brought about the change of wearing it on the outside, with the fur coat as we know it. Fur has long been seen as a status symbol with the more exclusive furs being reserved for the upper classes. Fashion designers widely embraced fur in their collections and it wasn’t until the 1980’s that real opposition to it began. Activists would throw red paint at people in fur as seen in the Sex and the City movie when an activist throws paint at Samantha whilst shouting ‘fur is murder’. PETA have done various prominent advertising campaigns against the use of fur in fashion including the 1991 campaign ‘rather go naked than wear fur’ which numerous celebrities took part in, including Kate Moss.
About a billion rabbits are slaughtered every year for their fur. This is an issue particularly close to my heart, mainly due to the fact I have kept rabbits as pets for most of my life.
I would never eat rabbit and have even boycotted a restaurant because it is on their menu. I realise however that this is a small stand to make considering I still wear leather shoes and eat meat and other animal products, something Karl Lagerfeld was quick to come back with to the critics of Fendi’s use of fur.
I think the key is that animals should be treated humanely whether they are being used for food or fur and many so called fur farms just don’t do this and of course that is wrong. It seems abhorrent that an animal should suffer in the name of fashion; especially as faux fur has come on so much. Some would argue against the use of the faux fur though as it is made from an oil base which is not a sustainable resource.
Britain and the USA have quite stringent rules on the treatment of the animals used to produce their fur but other countries are unfortunately not so scrupulous and many of their exports are not clearly labelled so you may well be buying their products unwittingly.
It is a shame that in recent years fur has become more popular in fashion again and even some of the models who opposed it in that 1991 PETA campaign have since been seen wearing it.
Everyone is of course entitled to their own views and as I say unless you are a vegan being against fur does have some sense of hypocrisy to it but in my mind, cruelty to animals is never ok and I am quite happy to wear faux fur. I think that it should be law that things are explicitly labelled so that the consumer can make an informed choice about what they buy, whether it be food, clothes or cosmetics.
Political rant over, I shall get back to the weather and what I have been doing, whilst staying in the warm and the dry has appeared to be the better option.
I completed my first shabby chic project, following a course I did last year which you can read about here. My husband inherited a rather ornate but very old fashioned cabinet in a dark wood from his Grandfather. I must admit that it wasn’t something I was that keen on in its original state but was the perfect canvas for shabby chic. I used Autentico Vanille paint for the base and then used Autentico Pitch Green to paint the panels on the doors and bring out the detail on the drawers. I finished it off with Autentico clear wax and put new drawer pulls on. I was quite pleased with the finished result in the end but I did learn a few lessons for the next project.
This weekend I braved the weather and headed up to London for the Vogue 100 – A Century of Style exhibition which you can read all about in my next blog. In the meantime try and keep warm and dry and roll on summer!